I really looked forward to the 2011 Vintage Port tasting at the W Hotel in San Francisco last week presented by Quinta do Noval and The Fladgate Partnership houses Croft, Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca. Single Vintage Ports are only declared about three times a decade, guiding consumers to the greatest and most long-lived Port. The 2011 vintage was perfect, with lots of rain in the spring building-up water reserves for the dry and sunny summer to follow. The resulting wines are exceptionally well-balanced, with lifted floral aromas, rich blackberry and cassis fruit and substantial structure to evolve beautifully with age. My favorites of the day sum up the vintage characteristics and House styles.
The Power of Vintage Ports
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011 showed the power and structure of the vintage, and of the House style. This Vintage Port is a blend of three estates Quinta do Junco and Quinta de Terra Feita in the heart of the Douro Valley, and Quinta de Vargellas in the drier, warmer Douro Superior to the east. With a spicy edge and well-integrated tannins, this Port can be enjoyed in youth or cellared.
Croft, founded in 1588, is known for the luscious, ripe fruit from the single estate of Quinta da Roeda in the heart of the Douro Valley but I found this Vintage Port to be among the freshest of the wines I tasted that day. Before dams were constructed in the late 20th century, the treacherous rapids would crash over the rocks at the bend of the river here creating the sound of arrueda or Roeda.
Purity of Fruit
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port and Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port – the latter from ungrafted, old vines – are always single estate wines which shows in the intensity and purity of blackberry and blueberry fruit. Managing Director Christian Seely’s personal estate Quinta da Romaneira also showed exceptional purity of fruit with heady floral aromas of wild rose and violets. Gorgeous.
Fladgate Partnership wines are imported by Kobrand.
Quinta do Noval wines are imported by Vintus.